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Quantum Fiber Plans: Pricing, Speeds and Availability Compared

 Quantum Fiber Plans: Pricing, Speeds and Availability Compared


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Pros

  • Fast upload and download speeds
  • No data caps, no contracts
  • Price for life guarantee

Cons

  • Availability limited to select areas
  • Few plan options

Best Quantum Fiber internet plans

Plan Monthly price Max speeds Fees and service details
200Mbps $30 200Mbps down, 200Mbps up No equipment fees (initially), no data caps or contracts
500Mbps $50 500Mbps down, 500Mbps up No equipment fees (initially), no data caps or contracts
940Mbps $75 940Mbps down, 940Mbps up No equipment fees (initially), no data caps or contracts
3 Gig $100 3,000Mbps down, 3,000Mbps up No equipment fees (initially), no data caps or contracts
8 Gig $165 8,000Mbps down, 8,000Mbps up No equipment fees (initially), no data caps or contracts

Show more (1 item)

Source: CNET analysis of provider data

Quantum Fiber, a division of Lumen Technologies (along with CenturyLink), has one of the largest fiber-optic networks in the US. As such, available plans may vary from one location to another.

In most markets, at least the ones I have checked (and that’s many, from Phoenix to Florida, Minneapolis to Seattle and Boise in between), the provider’s two flagship plans, 500 megabits per second and 940Mbps, are the main options. More choices would be ideal, but it’s worth noting that 500 or 940Mbps is ample speed for most households.

The 200Mbps plan hearkens back to pre-Quantum Fiber days when the service was known as CenturyLink Fiber, but it may be available to new customers in select markets. The new multigig plans arrived under the Quantum Fiber brand, with speeds up to 3 and 8 gigabits per second. Currently, 3- and 8-gig availability is limited to a select few locations, one of which is Denver, Colorado.

Regardless of the Quantum Fiber plans available in your area, the internet service, including service details, promotional offers and how it compares to other internet service providers, is largely the same. Along with plans and pricing, here’s all you need to know about Quantum Fiber before signing up.

What to expect on your Quantum Fiber bill

Screenshot of broadband label showing Quantum Fiber fees Screenshot of broadband label showing Quantum Fiber fees

Quantum Fiber’s broadband label indicates no equipment fees, installation costs or other fees. While that’s mostly true, renting equipment could come with a monthly fee after an initial period.

Quantum Fiber

Quantum Fiber keeps it fairly simple when it comes to plan pricing and the fine print, so there shouldn’t be any surprises — in the form of price hikes or an added fee for going over your data limit, for example — on your bill.

How many members of your household use the internet?

Granted, taxes, miscellaneous fees and (possibly) equipment rental costs will add to your bill, but Quantum Fiber doesn’t inflate the initial or monthly price the same as other providers might.

No equipment fees, probably

Quantum Fiber includes equipment rental at no additional cost for an “initial period.” That’s an awfully vague term and one that muddies the provider’s otherwise transparent pricing. Still, you can expect free Wi-Fi equipment rental, at least initially. 

If and when that initial period ends, how much your equipment rental will add to the bill is also a bit of a mystery. We’ve seen a fee of $15 in the past (and it’s worth noting CenturyLink also charges $15), but the actual cost may depend on your specific equipment and number of mesh Wi-Fi pods you have. 

Image of Quantum Fiber ONT device and two mesh Wi-Fi pods Image of Quantum Fiber ONT device and two mesh Wi-Fi pods

Quantum Fiber’s 360 Wi-Fi offers whole-home connectivity using a mesh Wi-Fi system with up to four pods. The service and equipment are available at no extra cost for an initial period.

Quantum Fiber

Quantum Fiber’s 360 Wi-Fi service offers up to four Wi-Fi pods, depending on how many your installation tech determines your home needs, in addition to the SmartNID optical network terminal device. Most devices will feature Wi-Fi 6 connectivity, though Wi-Fi 7 is available in select areas.

It’s an impressive setup designed for whole-home coverage, so enjoy it while it’s free. If the rental cost, when and if applicable, is more than you’d like to pay, there is the option to use your own equipment and skip the fee. You can also try calling customer service to negotiate for better service terms, including free equipment.

No data caps, contracts or installation fees

Equipment rental is somewhat of a wild card, but other Quantum Fiber service terms are more straightforward. 

All plans come with unlimited data. That means you are free to use your internet how you want (within the terms of the acceptable use policy, of course) without having to watch your data in order to avoid overage fees or speed throttling.

There are no contracts, so you can cancel or make changes to your service at any time without incurring an early termination fee. Just keep in mind that doing so may come with losing the price-for-life guarantee on your plan.

Professional installation is also currently fee-free, but Quantum Fiber states in the fine print that “this could change in the future, and some customers with additional products or services might have extra installation costs.” So like the equipment rental, enjoy it if it’s free, but don’t be totally surprised if it does end up costing extra.

About that price-for-life guarantee

Many ISPs, particularly of the cable internet variety, have promotional and standard pricing. The promotional rate is often good for one or two years, after which the price jumps to the standard rate. Some providers (looking at you, Astound, Cox and Xfinity) increase the rate significantly, sometimes by double the promotional rate or more depending on the plan. 

Quantum Fiber doesn’t have promotional pricing, so you’re paying the standard rate from the start and you don’t have to worry about set price increases a year or two later. That’s not necessarily unique, as a few providers do the same, including AT&T Fiber, Google Fiber and Verizon Fios.

However, Quantum Fiber takes it a step further by guaranteeing your rate for as long as you keep your plan. If 500Mbps is $50 when you sign up, 500Mbps will be $50 one, two or three years later and on.

That’s not to say your bill will never go up — that equipment rental fee may eventually appear, and then increase at some point down the road. Additionally, taxes and miscellaneous fees may go up at any time, to no fault of Quantum Fiber.

Quantum Fiber availability

screenshot-2024-05-21-075109.png screenshot-2024-05-21-075109.png

Quantum Fiber’s availability dropped after Lumen Technologies sold a portion of its networks, but the ISP still has an impressive coverage area with service available in 16 states.

FCC

Until late 2022, CenturyLink had one of the largest combined fiber and DSL networks, available in parts of 36 states coast to coast. It was then that Lumen Technologies sold a significant portion of its networks (mostly to new ISP Brightspeed) on the East Coast and in the Midwest and South. The ISP now operates primarily in Florida and west of the Mississippi River.

Still, Quantum Fiber’s coverage is impressive, available to nearly 2% of US households, making it the fourth largest fiber internet provider nationwide. Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Minnesota, Oregon and Washington have the greatest Quantum Fiber availability.

Major cities with decent (over 25%) Quantum Fiber serviceability include:

  • Boise, Idaho
  • Denver, Colorado
  • Des Moines, Iowa
  • Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Omaha, Nebraska
  • Phoenix, Arizona
  • Portland, Oregon
  • Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Seattle, Washington

How does Quantum Fiber compare?

If Quantum Fiber is available in your area, you’ll probably have the option of at least one other ISP, likely a cable internet provider, but 5G home internet may also be available. 

More often than not, I would recommend fiber internet over other connection types such as cable, DSL or 5G, and that’s the case with Quantum Fiber.

Cable providers such as Astound, Mediacom and Xfinity may have a lower starting price than Quantum Fiber (assuming the $30 200Mbps plan isn’t available in your area), but the lower pricing may also come with slower speeds. Additionally, the low price doesn’t last forever, and cable internet will almost assuredly be the more expensive service a year or two down the road.

Pricing between Quantum Fiber and 5G ISPs including T-Mobile Home Internet and Verizon 5G Home Internet is more closely matched, but you’ll get faster speeds and better reliability from Quantum Fiber.

Faster uploads, better reliability

Another advantage Quantum Fiber, and all fiber ISPs, have over cable or 5G ISPs is symmetrical upload and download speeds and supreme reliability.

While upload speeds play less of a role in typical home internet use — video conferencing, online gaming, and uploading images and videos to social media are the biggest uses, all of which require around 10Mbps or less — it’s nice to have the extra speed when you need it. 

The reliability, 99.9% according to Quantum Fiber, is much more valuable. Cable and 5G home internet are susceptible to network congestion, so speeds can drop during peak usage times or, in the case of 5G, as more users join the network.

A look at Quantum Fiber customer satisfaction

ACSI 2023 rankings for US customer satisfaction with fiber internet service providers ACSI 2023 rankings for US customer satisfaction with fiber internet service providers

ACSI

Last year was the first year the American Customer Satisfaction Index scored fiber and non-fiber ISPs separately. The move favored Quantum Fiber (shown as CenturyLink Fiber) well, as the ISP scored a 78 out of 100, second only to AT&T Fiber (80). The score was three points above the industry average for fiber providers.

J.D. Power didn’t differentiate between CenturyLink and Quantum Fiber in 2023, so the overall score could be (and probably is) lowered by Lumen Technologies’ DSL side of the business. CenturyLink landed a 709 out of 1,000 in the North Central region, again second to AT&T (726), but didn’t fare as well in the West where a score of 687 fell well below the region average. 

The low score in the West is concerning, but again, I would attribute that to CenturyLink’s DSL service, especially considering Quantum Fiber’s high ACSI score.

Quantum Fiber recap

Quantum Fiber doesn’t give you a lot of options — 500 or 940Mbps is it in most locations — but if the available speeds meet your needs, then the ISP is certainly worth considering. 

Along with fast, consistent upload and download speeds, Quantum Fiber comes with unlimited data, no contract requirements and free equipment rental (sort of). That’s par for the course with most fiber providers, but Quantum Fiber stands out further with its price-for-life guarantee that locks in your monthly rate for as long as you keep your plan.

Quantum Fiber FAQs

What’s the difference between CenturyLink and Quantum Fiber?

Quantum Fiber and CenturyLink are two different home internet brands under Lumen Technologies. The main difference between the two services is in the connection type. CenturyLink is a copper-based DSL service while Quantum Fiber employs a fiber-optic network. The technologies make for vastly different services when it comes to speed, reliability and availability.

To further differentiate between the two services, Lumen Technologies retired the CenturyLink Fiber brand and transitioned customers to the new Quantum Fiber service.

How much does Quantum Fiber actually cost?

Quantum Fiber plans range from $30 to $165 per month for max speeds of 200 to 8,000Mbps. However, most locations will have the option of two plans: 500Mbps starting at $50 per month or 940Mbps for $75. 

Equipment is included at no additional cost for an “initial period,” after which an equipment fee may apply if you choose to rent from Quantum Fiber. There are no data caps or contracts.

What is Quantum Fiber’s price-for-life guarantee?

The price-for-life guarantee locks your monthly rate for the life of the plan. For example, if you sign up for 500Mbps at $50 per month, the $50 rate will stay the same as long as you keep your plan.

The guarantee doesn’t apply to equipment rental fees, taxes or other miscellaneous fees, so what you pay each month very well may go up at some point, but not because of a rate increase.

How fast is Quantum Fiber?

Quantum Fiber offers max speeds of 200, 500 and 940Mbps in select areas, along with multigig speeds of 3 and 8Gbps. Most locations, however, will have the option of 500 or 940Mbps. Keep in mind that such speeds are to the home. Actual experienced speeds inside the home will vary due to a variety of factors such as using Wi-Fi and connecting multiple devices.

As a fiber-optic internet provider, Quantum Fiber has the advantage of delivering symmetrical upload and download speeds, so max speeds to and from the home should be similar. Additionally, fiber service is less vulnerable to network congestion, so speeds are often more consistent during peak usage times or as more users join the local network.

How do I contact Quantum Fiber customer service?

You can contact Quantum Fiber customer service via online chat or over the phone at 833-250-6306 seven days a week between the hours of 7 a.m. and 11 p.m. CST. You can also reach out to Quantum Fiber customer support on the provider’s official Facebook, X and Instagram pages, or send an email to [email protected].



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